Surviving Lockdown with Small Children (and a solitary cat) 3 It’s lockdown AGAIN and many of us have exhausted all our ideas for keeping the children happy and occupied at home. Maybe some of these may help?

One of my earliest memories is as a toddler hiding in a large cardboard box to leap out and scare Dad when he arrived home from work.   Perhaps because of this, large cardboard boxes, the sort that TVs, microwaves and fridges come in, have always been a favourite with small children. Boxes can be cut and arranged to make sit-in cars, trucks, trains or a wonderful playhouse with opening doors and windows. They can be painted inside and out. Glue and sparkle dust can make a magical transformation. Cushions make cosy furniture for a secret fort and a great place to have lunch.

Zoe was a particularly solitary and elusive tabby cat who used to hide in many odd and unusual places around our house. One wet day at home the children occupied themselves happily for hours in a hugely successful ‘animal hunt’, before Zoe was finally discovered and her trauma overcome by many treats and cuddles. Poor old Zoe, these days we have modified the game to avoid animal suffering. ‘Hunt Dad’ is just as much fun and is far kinder. After all, many Dads are solitary and elusive just like Zoe, but the advantage is that most Dads have been well traumatised already!

Here are some other ideas from the Ashton Warner staff that may help save your sanity and help the children’s development.  Try a bubble bath with food colouring and lots of plastic containers for pouring. Make popcorn and tickets and set up an indoor ‘movie’ afternoon with a video. Give the children the run of your wardrobe and let them dress up in your clothes (if you dare).  Try getting children involved in baking bread using yeast – children love the magic of seeing the dough rise when left in a warm place.  Make secret passages and hide-outs under chairs and tables using sheets and tablecloths- a great place to read scary stories.

Let us know if there are any particular parenting issues that you would us to discuss in future blogs on this site.